I won’t have a chance to do a preview for this game thanks to an awfully early flight back to the Twin Cities. To make up for it, we’ll be doing our first liveblog of the season, kicking things off half an hour or so before the 6:30 pm central time tip-off. Watch the game, share your opinions, and hopefully enjoy one of the best weeks of Gopher basketball in the last few years.

If you do feel like reading a bit before the game, check out the links below.

U tries to maintain level head Beginning with a run to the Big Ten tournament final in March through Friday’s signature win, Smith has put the Gophers on a national platform not achieved by the program since the late ’90s.

Tubby Smith, Gophers try to stay on even keel even after upset of No. 8 North Carolina “I’m not a very impressionable-type coach,” Smith later said to reporters at his postgame news conference. “But I like our courage; I like our toughness.”

Upstart Gophers make a statement vs. UNC
“I think at the beginning of the year we definitely had the confidence that we could beat these type of teams, but you want some of the younger guys on the team to see it too,’’ said Minnesota senior guard Blake Hoffarber. “I think we proved a lot to a lot of people.’’

Gophers ready for West Virginia
Gopher fans are hoping that the win over the Tar Heels, the highest ranked team that they have beaten under Smith, could elevate the team in the pollsters and analysts’ eyes. The win is even more impressive as junior guard Devoe Joseph, who made the Big Ten All-Tournament team, is suspended indefinitely due to “off the court” issues.

Tubby vs Huggy: Unranked Minnesota, WVirginia want to leave Puerto Rico undefeated champions Minnesota and West Virginia — Tubby vs. Huggy — have made Sunday’s championship in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament more about early season bragging rights. It’s given a glimpse of how good these teams can play and why this might not be the only tourney this season where they can go deep.

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